The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

The Screwtape Letters by C. S. Lewis

The Screwtape Letters

by C. S. Lewis
A masterpiece of satire, this classic has entertained and enlightened readers the world over with its sly and ironic portrayal of human life from the vantage point of Screwtape, a senior tempter in the service of “Our Father Below.” At once wildly comic, deadly serious, and strikingly original, C. S. Lewis gives us the correspondence of the worldly-wise old devil to his nephew Wormwood, a novice demon in charge of securing the damnation of an ordinary young man. The Screwtape Letters is the most engaging and humorous account of temptation—and triumph over it—ever written.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Cathy rated it ★★★★★.

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Persuasion

by Jane Austen

Twenty-seven-year old Anne Elliot is Austen’s most adult heroine. Eight years before the story proper begins, she is happily betrothed to a naval officer, Frederick Wentworth, but she precipitously breaks off the engagement when persuaded by her friend Lady Russell that such a match is unworthy. The breakup produces in Anne a deep and long-lasting regret. When later Wentworth returns from sea a rich and successful captain, he finds Anne’s family on the brink of financial ruin and his own sister a tenant in Kellynch Hall, the Elliot estate. All the tension of the novel revolves around one question: Will Anne and Wentworth be reunited in their love?

Jane Austen once compared her writing to painting on a little bit of ivory, 2 inches square. Readers of Persuasion will discover that neither her skill for delicate, ironic observations on social custom, love, and marriage nor her ability to apply a sharp focus lens to English manners and morals has deserted her in her final finished work.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Bekka rated it ★★★★★ and said, “I think this is the best of all her books. More mature, and more depth to the story. Beautiful. Better every time I read it!”

Cathy rated it ★★★★.

Rebekah rated it ★★★★★ and said, “Have you ever found that book that isn’t so much a book as a part of you? This is the book I read when I’m surpassingly sad or when I’m surpassingly happy. Every time I wonder if maybe I just imagined how much I love Persuasion, I reread it, and by the last page, I know again that no other book will ever come close to it in my heart.”

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

A Tale of Two Cities

by Charles Dickens

A Library Book Club meeting for this book was held January 21, 2016.

It was the time of the French Revolution—a time of great change and great danger. It was a time when injustice was met by a lust for vengeance, and rarely was a distinction made between the innocent and the guilty. Against this tumultuous historical backdrop, Dickens’ great story of unsurpassed adventure and courage unfolds.

Unjustly imprisoned for 18 years in the Bastille, Dr. Alexandre Manette is reunited with his daughter, Lucie, and safely transported from France to England. It would seem that they could take up the threads of their lives in peace. As fate would have it though, the pair are summoned to the Old Bailey to testify against a young Frenchman—Charles Darnay—falsely accused of treason. Strangely enough, Darnay bears an uncanny resemblance to another man in the courtroom, the dissolute lawyer’s clerk Sydney Carton. It is a coincidence that saves Darnay from certain doom more than once. Brilliantly plotted, the novel is rich in drama, romance, and heroics that culminate in a daring prison escape in the shadow of the guillotine.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Cathy rated it ★★★★★.

Rebekah rated it ★★★★★.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

by Roald Dahl

Mother Daughter Book Club meeting for this book was held April, 14, 2016.

Books for Boys meeting for this book was held February 18, 2016.

The gates of Willy Wonka’s famous chocolate factory are opening at last—and only five children will be allowed inside.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Miranda rated it ★★★★★.

Cathy rated it ★★★★★.

Courtney rated it ★★★.

Half Magic by Edward Eager

Half Magic by Edward Eager

Half Magic

by Edward Eager

A combined Mother Daughter Book Club and Books for Boys meeting for this book was held January 14, 2016.

Four children find a magical coin that grants each person one wish. There’s just one catch: the wish only comes half true, leaving the wisher in a big pickle. Even the family cat gets her turn, with disastrous results. Magic and mayhem run amok in this wonderful classic tale.

book 1 in the Tales of Magic series

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Vivian rated it ★★★.

Bekka rated it ★★★★★ and said, “Wonderful, wonderful book! One of the all-time classics.”

Miranda rated it ★★★★★.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda

by Roald Dahl

A Books for Boys Book Club meeting for this book will be March 8, 2018, at 6:30 in the Community Room. Book club reading copies will be available for checkout from the circulation desk about a month prior to the meeting.

A Mother Daughter Book Club meeting for this book was held March 10, 2016.

Library Book Club meeting for this book was held October 15, 2015.

Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she’s knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she’s a super-nerd and the teacher’s pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda’s world. For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there’s the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, Mrs. (“The”) Trunchbull, a former hammer-throwing champion who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.

She warms up with some practical jokes aimed at her hapless parents, but the true test comes when she rallies in defense of her teacher, the sweet Miss Honey, against the diabolical Trunchbull. There is never any doubt that Matilda will carry the day. Even so, this wonderful story is far from predictable. Roald Dahl, while keeping the plot moving imaginatively, also has an unerring ear for emotional truth. The reader cares about Matilda because in addition to all her other gifts, she has real feelings.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Cathy rated it ★★★★.

Tamara rated it ★★★★.

The Thief and the Dogs by Najib Mahfuz

The Thief and the Dogs by Najib Mahfuz

The Thief and the Dogs

by Najib Mahfuz

Library Book Club meeting for this book was held November 19, 2015.

Naguib Mahfouz’s haunting novella of post-revolutionary Egypt combines a vivid pychological portrait of an anguished man with the suspense and rapid pace of a detective story.

After four years in prison, the skilled young thief Said Mahran emerges bent on revenge. He finds a world that has changed in more ways than one. Egypt has undergone a revolution and, on a more personal level, his beloved wife and his trusted henchman, who conspired to betray him to the police, are now married to each other and are keeping his six-year-old daughter from him. But in the most bitter betrayal, his mentor, Rauf Ilwan, once a firebrand revolutionary who convinced Said that stealing from the rich in a unjust society is an act of justice, is now himself a rich man, a respected newspaper editor who wants nothing to do with the disgraced Said. As Said’s wild attempts to achieve his idea of justice badly misfire, he becomes a hunted man so driven by hatred that he can only recognize too late his last chance at redemption.

A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

A Room with a View by E. M. Forster

A Room with a View

by E. M. Forster

A Library Book Club meeting for this book was held February 18, 2016, as part of On the Same Page, the Madison Library District’s annual community reading program.

One of E. M. Forster’s most celebrated novels, A Room With a View is the story of a young English middle-class girl, Lucy Honeychurch. While vacationing in Italy, Lucy meets and is wooed by two gentlemen, George Emerson and Cecil Vyse. After turning down Cecil Vyse’s marriage proposals twice Lucy finally accepts. Upon hearing of the engagement George protests and confesses his true love for Lucy. Lucy is torn between the choice of marrying Cecil, who is a more socially acceptable mate, and George who she knows will bring her true happiness. A Room With a View is a tale of classic human struggles such as the choice between social acceptance or true love.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Vivian rated it ★★★ and said, “The author introduces most of the Edwardian Era cast of English characters in an upscale hotel in Venice, Italy. Lucy is a young woman on her first journey abroad and she is attended by her aunt, who complains while dining that their room has no view. An elderly gentleman seated at a nearby table insists that he and his son George exchange rooms as they do have a view and don’t care about it. She declines, thinking how ill-bred the man must be, but he insists and the change is made. And thus are Lucy and George thrown into one another’s paths. The various characters are icons of British society at the turn of the last century, making this story more a social commentary than a simple romance. George’s father, Mr. Emerson, is a dissenting voice to the accepted manners, conduct, and even religion of the day. He takes on a one-man crusade to save the British (or those he personally encounters) from the shackles of superstition and repressed passions. He is one of the most likable characters in the story. Reading this story more than a century after it was written is frustrating because you want to reach into the story and shake the characters. ‘Wake up!’ you want to shout. I can imagine that the story must have been most shocking when it was written. Like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, Forster forced his contemporaries to take a good long look at themselves and thus be accountable for the havoc they created in their own and other’s lives.”

Rebekah rated it ★★★★.

Cathy rated it ★★★★.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Wuthering Heights

by Emily Brontë

Library Book Club meeting for this book was held April 21, 2016.

Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

Ratings and Reviews from the Librarians

Cathy rated it ★★★★★.

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